By Benjamin Harshav, Barbara Harshav

Presents details at the Yiddish language and literature, describes poetic kinds, and gathers poems in Yiddish and English through seven of the simplest Jewish American poets.

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Extra resources for American Yiddish Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology

Sample text

I am on the side of the serious ones, rightly or wrongly. To me the life my sister leads now is something to be ashamed of, being built solely on profit. Donating a million to charity at the end of the year, then gleefully reading about it in the newspapers and laughing herself silly for weeks, as she herself says she does — I find that revolting. On one occasion she made over to the church a palace near Siena — admittedly over-run by rats — to be used as an old people’s home, at the same time contributing two million schillings for extensions to the building.

Then I sat down at my desk. Of course it was completely dark. I made sure that I was alone in the house. I could hear nothing except my own pulse beat. I took the four prednisolone tablets, which had been prescribed by the specialist, with a glass of water and smoothed out the sheet of paper I had put in front of me. I’ll calm down and begin work, I told myself. Again and again I said to myself, I’ll calm down and begin work. But after I had said this about a hundred times and could no longer stop saying it I gave up.

Neither can be helped. The church — since this suits my argument — exploits both, no matter what church it is, and the Catholic Church I know far too well to leave it a thing. It is the subtlest of them all, taking advantage wherever it can and getting most of its money from the poorest of the poor. But the poorest of the poor can’t be helped. The idea that they can is the most widespread of lies, propagated above all by the politicians. Poverty can’t be eradicated, and anyone who thinks of eradicating it is set on nothing short of the eradication of the human race itself, and hence of nature itself.

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